Along with health services, planning experts are calling for changes to the law which currently make it easier for fast food restaurants to acquire planning permission on a high street unit than a gym.
The Town and Country Planning Order 1987 currently splits the use of buildings, such as restaurants, retail units, offices and hospitality, amongst other areas, into Use Classes. Some cold food restaurants actually sit within the same Class Use as a retail unit – and so planning permission would not be required to make a change from a retail unit over to a cold food restaurant such as a sandwich bar. However, it becomes much more complicated when applying for a change of use from retail (class A1) to a gym (class D2). Current planning laws tend to favour retail, offices and hospitality units.
Emily Temple, Founding Director of ET Planning, said: “The needs for UK high streets have changed over the years and it would be great to see more modernised changes to planning law.
“To be able to welcome more fitness centres to the high street would not only be good for public health, but also for the economy.
“Empty units on our high streets is sadly becoming a familiar sight, but there are plenty of companies ready and willing to breathe new life into these dormant premises.”
The biggest opposition to change of uses in favour of fitness centres is that they require a large amount of parking. However, high streets, in the main, are geared up for both footfall and people that travel in by car. Parking should therefore not be such a significant concern for local authorities.
ET Planning are keen to support local high street development where it enhances town centre vitality and vibrancy. ET Planning recently won a change of use application in London.
If you are looking to acquire a change of use for your business premises, please get in touch with ET Planning today.